A Mindful Approach to Negative Thoughts
Have you been struggling with negative thoughts as winter approaches?
Perhaps you’ve been struggling with negative thoughts throughout the year – or longer. Or perhaps they have increased as we change seasons. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common issue that affects many people, and it can get particularly grueling from November onwards.
When you add a global pandemic into this mix, things can feel hard right now.
Low moods, insomnia, and, of course, negative thoughts are just a few symptoms associated with what is a real and debilitating problem for some.
This is why this article will help you deal with negative thinking that creeps up as winter approaches. With any luck, the tips offered here will help you during any time of the year that these thoughts threaten your mental and emotional well-being.
What Not to Do
There are things you should do and then things you should not do when it comes to negative thoughts.
Trying to find distractions from them, seeking diversions, or “drowning in your sorrows” are ineffective ways of dealing with negative thoughts. In fact, this makes the thought worse, not better!
Remember, it is totally okay to have negative thoughts. They are there for a reason. Having negative thoughts is not something to be ashamed of and does not make you any less of a person.
That being said, negative thoughts are best dealt with when tackled head-on.
A Mindful Approach to Negative Thoughts
Step 1: Acknowledge the Thoughts
The first step to improvement is to acknowledge the thought in the first place. As with almost all negative issues, they are weakened when they are dragged into the light.
A negative thought has power only when you allow it to have power.
When you confront it head-on and acknowledge its existence, some of this power is immediately stripped from it and returned to you.
Check this out next: Override Negative Thoughts With Positive Affirmations
Step 2: Write it Down
Now it’s time to write down the thought. When you write down the thought or say it aloud, you take back control of the thought itself. It could be anything, such as:
- I’m not good enough.
- I will never succeed.
- I am not attractive/popular enough.
- My finances will never improve.
When we put ourselves down in this way, we send a message to our subconscious mind, which then programs us to think a certain way about ourselves. While it is essential for everyday life and helping us go about our business, our conscious mind is not quite as smart as it thinks it is!
If the conscious mind tells itself something, this then filters into the subconscious, responsible for our emotions and deepest thoughts. It is in the subconscious that our entire being, character, emotions, and essence are operating from.
Therefore, whatever we tell ourselves, we are what we ultimately become.
Negative thoughts dig into the subconscious, and when they are allowed to do so, it can be very challenging to get them out. They transform into negative emotions and make things difficult for us regarding our personal belief system, relationships, work, and other areas of our lives.
Writing down your negative thought enables you to see yourself from an outsider’s perspective – and perspective is everything! If you can recognize your conscious mind as a separate entity from yourself, you realize that negative thoughts are not you.
Step 3: Replace the Negative Thought With a Positive Thought
If your thought is, “I am a failure,” replace it with “I will succeed.”
The power of positive affirmations cannot be underestimated. Remember, the subconscious listens very keenly to the message your conscious mind sends it. Whatever you tell yourself, eventually, it will believe it.
Write down all your negative thoughts, and then, next to them, write a positive thought to counter it instead. Repeat these thoughts to yourself throughout the day.
Learn more about affirmations: The Benefits of Positive Self-Affirmation
Step 4: Dissect the Negative Thought
One way of conquering the negative thought is by thoroughly understanding it. Know thy enemy, as they say. Take time to understand and dissect the thought. Ask yourself:
- Why do I think like this?
- What “good” is this thought bringing to my life?
- How can I counter this thought with someone negative?
- What destructive tendencies is this thought bringing to my life?
- How is this thought affecting my overall well-being?
These questions can help you understand the thought at a deeper level. At this point, your rational mind kicks in and thinks, “Hang on, this thought isn’t helping me very much! I’d better do something about it!”
Some Helpful Tips
Dealing with negative thinking in a constructive and beneficial way is something that needs to be done in steps and can take time. Meanwhile, there are other things you can do to help yourself when negative thinking takes over:
- Eating well
- Burning resins can be good for stress
- Ensuring to get adequate sleep
All of these things are helpful to the physical body, and when the physical body is in harmony, it becomes easier for the mind to view things from a new perspective.
Negative Thinking is Not “You”
Remember, negative thinking is not you; it is an aspect of you that can feel overwhelming at times, but it is crucial to remember that ultimately you are in control.
You may not be able to control the thoughts that enter your head. But you can control what you do with them. Will you allow them to pull you under? Or will you tackle them with courage and self-belief?
The choice is yours; it is up to you whether you choose to release the mind from negativity. Just don’t forget that you can overcome them, no matter how daunting they may be.
Related article: How to Activate Positive Emotions With Aromatherapy